Amid scorching heat in Rostov and a cauldron-like atmosphere created by almost 20,000 fans, Mexico beat Korea Republic 2-1 in Group F to put one foot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ knockout stage.
El Tri initially struggled to break down the Koreans, who set up in a defensive tactical shape and left the livewire Son Heungmin to plough a lone furrow up front. However, after Carlos Vela's 26th-minute penalty had broken the deadlock, the Mexicans were able to breathe easier and better guard themselves against counter attacks thereafter. Even so, Guillermo Ochoa was called into action to prevent Son from equalising shortly before half-time.
The Taeguk Warriors were forced to come out of their shell and push forward as the match wore on, but this more open approach suited Mexico down to the ground, paving the way for them to double their lead. El Tri fans in Rostov Arena were in full voice after Javier Hernandez struck in the 66th minute and will have gone away with high hopes that their country will finally break their Round of 16 hoodoo this year.
As for Korea Republic, Son's stoppage-time screamer from outside the box will have served as scant consolation given that the result left them staring elimination in the face.
Image credit: Fifa.
Summary credit: Fifa Match Summary.